“Good morning!” said Jim, the store manager to the customer. The customer scowled and offered a rebuke. Now it wasn’t any ordinary sort of “good morning,” it was one of those irrepressibly joyful, vibrant, authentic greetings that showed the person offering it was experiencing life in that moment as a wonderful gift. What was going on for the customer? It could have been so many different things. They could have been drowning in their internal challenges totally separated from that joyful greeting. They could have been experiencing illness and feeling pain. They may have lost a loved one, or been recently sacked from their job? They could have found offence in some manner with Jim; his looks, demeanour, too forthright, too tall, too loud? Who knows? What we do know however, is that the customer couldn’t be mindfully present.
Who would you have become in that moment? Lets imagine some more context here just for the sake of the exercise. Let’s pretend that you have just had an argument with some-one significant in your life. Your partner, child, best friend or boss. You are going over that argument in your mind and it seems to be replaying like the old tape recorder analogy. Play. Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play. Rewind. Over and over. Off you go down the street to buy your morning newspaper and you enter the store feeling your own inner pain and wham! “Good morning!” There it is. Like a scalding discomfort when delivered. There is a knowing, in that moment, you cannot access that joy. It feels a thousand miles away right now. It may feel like those who are experiencing happiness in that moment are bloody annoying. Just adding to your pain.
The idea that we have options in how we feel can seem ridiculous. “I don’t have a choice about how I feel, look what’s happened to me. They made me feel like this! I feel like crap.” Sometimes being in the presence of a higher, positive energy is enough to lift us out of our own story for a while and sometimes it feels to intensify our discomfort even further Can you put your uncomfortable story to one side for a moment and join in the exchange of joy being offered. It’s precious you know. It’s like we are borrowing some of their positive energy for a moment. It’s a gift. That particular moment, once gone will never be presented again. Can you lift your spirits and rise to meet that ‘hello?’
Why should I shift from being annoyed or upset? I hear some asking. Isn’t it OK to feel grumpy or upset at times? Do I have to be Pollyanna all day? It’s very human to feel grumpy or upset at times, but do you really enjoy feeling that way? What if I suggested that you play with this idea and see what happens. Next times you feel that you are a bit down, see if you can greet some-one enthusiastically and be totally present to the conversation that unfolds without reference to your ‘upset’ story or even the need to share it. How often do we find ourselves telling others about our ‘horrible experience or day’ etc. The person in front of you has nothing to do with the other parts of you that are upset. Are you so attached to the part of you that is upset that you can’t place it within its relevant context and work with it appropriately (ie it’s ONE part of your life that is out of balance not all of it. ONE part of your relationship to the world is having some challenges. Will you drag that miserable part along to meet everybody else today? Creating negativity all around you? Or will you work with the challenge at the appropriate time and place and get on with the rest of your amazing blessed life?)
“What’s so good about the day………..(I want sympathy! I want people to see that I am having a crappy day. I want some-one to fix it up for me. I WANT…….!”) OR
“Good morning. Gosh you are in good spirits today. Thanks for that lovely greeting, you have brightened my day. Any particular reason for your joyful self today?”
Most importantly watch what happens if you decide to experiment with entering the positive experience offered with the “hello.” How do you feel? All that is required is the attitude of the explorer. What will happen? Check it out.
In Joy your day.